So far, 2016 has been a year marked by increasing online browsing and evolving user trends. As consumer habits show a continuous gravitation towards online shopping, e-commerce optimization becomes a critical part of any brand’s marketing plans. As you update your strategy for the progressing year, consider the following best practices for e-commerce in 2016. Tried and true, they’re sure to yield higher conversions and competitive results.
Best Practice: Mobile Optimization
With more Google searches conducted on mobile devices than desktops, it’s time to meet your customers where they’re spending the most time. This is exceptionally important if your online presence represents a physical location, as more than half of local commerce searches result in a sale. Investing in mobile optimization is absolutely critical to achieving e-commerce success, and if you haven’t already, it’s time to get phone-friendly.
You can start by using Google’s tool to test how mobile-friendly your website is. It’s crucial that your website loads almost instantly for site visitors, because user impressions are made within 1/10th of a second. It can also help to shift your advertising mindset to a more mobile-focused audience by creating responsive ads that are appealing to the click-and-buy mobile users of 2016.
Best Practice: Visibility
A big part of appealing to consumers is making certain details of your business visible. Every second a site visitor spends hunting for the internal search bar or contact information decreases the potential of a conversion. Studies have also shown that the absence of important information (authors, contact information, location, etc.) reduces consumer trust, which can really hurt your brand’s overall revenue.
The most successful e-commerce sites keep important information upfront and visible. To put this into practices, try putting a contact number in the header of your website. You might also try making certain incentives more visible on your web pages. For example, adding a word about free shipping or an estimated delivery date (i.e., “Order now and get it this week”) keeps a purchase prompter in your customer’s line of vision.
Best Practice: Functional Website Design
Over-complicating your website design with flashy carousels of products or hard to navigate structures can do your business a great disservice. Aside from likely messing with your load speed and interfering with usability, it can hurt the initial impression users get when they visit your website.
Global navigation typically fares the best for e-commerce websites, because it’s easy to navigate through. Structurally, it works well to feature product categories, and sub categories if need be, and keeps users only a few clicks from what they need for the duration of their site visit.
Best Practice: Social Media Marketing
Social media has been gaining momentum for a long time, and major platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) won’t be losing relevance any time soon. The influence of social media is undeniable, and the near constant plugged-in nature of these platforms makes it a great opportunity for visibility.
If nothing else, giving your brand a social media presence serves as an effective way of understanding your consumers better. By connecting with customers where they express their opinions, preferences, and personalities, you can reach them more effectively and give your brand an important component of sharability. Try engaging users by adding “share” plug ins throughout the purchasing process, or by adding incentives to share pictures, posts, and reviews of products.
Best Practice: Adding Security Seals
Credit card and identity scams are a big problem for e-commerce. The personal information required for e-commerce transactions makes consumer trust of paramount necessity in attaining conversions. But gaining that trust, especially from new customers, can be tricky.
In a study of e-commerce websites, displaying security seals added a trust factor that consumers responded positively to. By adding business/security verified seals, e-commerce sites saw a significant lift in traffic and conversion rates, especially among new visitors. Try adding security seals to your product pages to give your customers the assurance they need.